The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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The defence ministry has said:

n All IAF radars in the region of the reported airdropping were on and operationally available at the time of the incident. No air activity to cause consternation had been detected at Chopra, 2 km from Bangladesh border.

n Six senior Air Force officers visited the spot this morning, accompanied by the superintendents of police of New Jalpaiguri and North Dinajpur and met residents of the area.

n The investigation has revealed that a minor girl and a 30-year-old man had reported seeing a “big aircraft” flying about at a height of about 100 to 150 feet. The other villagers had only heard noise.

n The pond was manually dredged but nothing was found. The water of the pond had not changed colour.

n There has been no chemical reaction in the water and the fish were alive. The dozen villagers who waded and searched the pond did not complain of any discomfort or reaction.

n The quality of inputs from the villagers and “eyewitnesses” is suspect. Divers have been requisitioned from the Eastern Naval Command to search other waterbodies nearby.

n The incident could be a figment of imagination or a case of a slow moving unidentified transport type aircraft flying at very low level, which is unlikely. Such aircraft cannot stay at such low levels for long and invariably would have been picked up by radar in the area.

n Investigations by the IAF in conjunction with the local authorities are continuing. Eastern Air Command is in touch with the Bengal government.

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